Research Associate – National Centre for Nuclear Robotics

University of the West of England, Bristol - Engineering Design & Mathematics

The Bristol Robotics Laboratory ( at the University of the West of England has recently secured funding from the EPSRC for a 3.5-year project to undertake fundamental research in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), which will enable step changes to be made in the capabilities of robotic solutions for use in the nuclear industry. The funding is part of the EPSRC Hub “National Centre for Nuclear Robotics” (NCNR). The research in NCNR is divided into two themes, you will be responsible for working on the theme “Variable autonomy and shared control”, but you are expected to integrate your work with the person working on the other theme, which is based around research in multi-modal telepresence and augmented human-robot interfaces.

Theme “Variable autonomy and shared control”. Most existing robotic systems remain fixed at one level of autonomy (LOA), typically teleoperation or autonomous control. In this theme, you will explore smooth transitions between a variety of LOA, including teleoperation, shared control, human-supervised autonomy and full autonomy, including autonomous switching of LOA. Your goal will be to develop an architecture for automatic and smooth transitions between the LOA considering the user, environment state and context, building on our methods for high-level reasoning and decision making allowing for smooth and safe fading/switching of LOA. For that, you will have to develop a world model that integrates object locations, properties and affordances, robot locations and a user model. The user model will reflect user capabilities, preferences as well as cognitive state (e.g. tiredness).


Candidates for this job should have a completed a PhD in control for robotics or a related discipline.



  1. Knowledge of experimental robotics, including experimental design, including the rigorous collection and analysis of experimental results.
  2. Knowledge and practice of coding (in, i.e. C, C++ or Python) of embedded robot controllers, including successful debugging and testing.
  3. Understands how to conduct research using appropriate research techniques and implementing new research methods. Can demonstrate a commitment to continually updating knowledge and understanding in field or specialism.
  4. Is enthusiastic to develop specialist knowledge in the discipline and of research methods and techniques to work within research programmes.
  5. Can effectively analyse, interpret and present research data to generate outcomes.
  6. Possesses communication skills in order to communicate complex information, orally and in writing effectively.
  7. Is able to create effective working relationships with colleagues and students across the faculty/University.
  8. Can effectively manage own workload, research resources and administrative activities.
  9. Demonstrates active engagement in personal and professional development relevant to the role.


  1. Knowledge of human-robot interaction and/or variable autonomy.
  2. Experience of the Robot Operating System (ROS).
  3. Experience of robot simulators such as Webots, ARGOS or V-REP.
  4. Track record of organising and running field tests of robotic systems.
  5. Experience of working with industry.
  6. Experience and aptitude for public engagement.

Staff benefits include:

  • a generous holiday allowance of 27 Days
  • up to 12.5 bank holiday/closure days per year in addition;
  • flexible working;
  • excellent defined benefit pension schemes;
  • option to participate in the cycle to work scheme;
  • family friendly policies;
  • onsite nursery at our Frenchay Campus;
  • option to purchase childcare vouchers.

This post is based at our lively Frenchay campus.

Please see the attached full job description and person specification for the role.

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South West England